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This netcast explores the rapidly changing world of biotech, with a penchant towards getting a better understanding of who we are and where we are going. The living world will soon be a true substrate for engineering. Our world will change, and so will we. 
We bring a first hand account from the scientists that are moving us into this new technological era: the era of biotech. 

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    « FiB Episode 019 - The Supra Human Organism | Main | FiB Episode 017 - Are We Moving Towards a Singularity in Biotech? »

    FiB Episode 018 - NanoBiotech

    RUNNING TIME: 1:12:12

    Leo and I explore the world of NanoBiotechnology with Peter Searson and Denis Wirtz from Johns Hopkins

    This podcast is brought to you by Download a free audiobook of your choice today at

    Hosts: Marc Pelletier and Leo Laporte


    Peter Searson, Director of the Institute for NanoBiotechnology and Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

    Denis Wirtz, Associate Director of the Institute for NanoBiotechnology, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering.

    I was going through my hard drive and I stumbled on a large audio file. It was one of the LOST EPISODES!!! I had actually made a backup! So here it is... I apologize to our guests, who must have thought we were crazy, but they have been really good sports about this. They are doing some outstanding work, developing an area of biotechnology that brings together the best of materials science with biotechnology, focusing on medical applications. I certainly hope to have both Peter Searson and Denis Wirtz back on the show soon, and I promise not to lose the file this time!


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    Reader Comments (5)

    I found it spectacularly inane and puzzling that Leo found the need to disparage the entire field of nanoscale science halfway through a podcast devoted to "nanobiotech".

    Leo referred to nanotechnology as "bogus" several times and this line of discussion was allowed to persist for ~5 minutes. Leo, aside from being uninformed and willfully ignorant, has a PhD in what field? What is his expertise? How is he qualified to comment on this area?

    Some of the nonsense jactitation I can deal with (...biotech is the greatest revolution in mankind...blah blah...), but this was out of bounds.

    You just lost two listeners with this podcast...i have unsubscribed.

    July 5, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterhapax legomenon

    If you can refer to finding a SIR2 activator (ep.2; a drug that can expand the human life span by 40%) or synthesising a Neanderthal genome (ep. 9 + 11), or identifying the universal molecule that regulates the rate of evolution (ep. 1), or technologies that can "watch" the genome in action dynamically (ep. 5) as nonsense jactitation, I think you too are disparaging. These technologies are moving our ability to improve human health forward in quantum leaps.

    Rather than complaining -you could provide an example to demonstrate that nanotech has provided useful applications (I certainly know of several - but your the one making the argument here).

    July 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMarc Pelletier

    I would be careful to appreciate the distinction between *might* be revolutionary and "*is* the greatest revolution in mankind". Ptolemy, Newton, Einstein, etc. all made much greater contributions to mankind than some speculative research that might bear fruit 20-30 years down the line.

    The SIR2 research is interesting, in *yeast*. Your comment below says "...a drug that can expand the human life span by 40%". Do you mind citing a journal article or white paper for that incorrect statement? None of professor Guarante's papers make such a bold claim. He writes his opening paragraphs very carefully. Potential is quite distinct from reality.

    As for nanotech, I would say that Intel and the hard drive manufacturers of the world are quite satisfied with the contributions thus far. If you want a more bio-related application, look no further than gene chips, which (at least originally in the work from Duke) originated in photolithography processes for micro- and nano-technology.

    You're really on shaky footing here, Marc.

    I am aware that biotech is potentially promising, but the outset of each of your broadcasts has a clip that proclaims it "the greatest revolution in makind" which, by any objective standard, is silly.

    Or, at least, if you're using electricity and drinking purified water while sitting in an air conditioned building typing over a broadband internet connection then that proclamation should strike you as silly.

    Either that or you have a severe case of cognitive dissonance. Incidentally, your podcast went on to describe another use of nanotech minutes after Leo put his foot in his mouth.

    Good day.

    July 5, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterhapax legomenon

    Hapax - I agree with you, you've made strong arguments, well appreciated. The show is suppose to be thought provoking. And you are certainly raising the bar for us.

    With respect to the Sirtuins, and their role in modulating caloric restriction (CR):

    And with the intro theme - it's suppose to be fun, not a declaration. Shouldn't we have -some- fun with science and technology?

    BTW we will have Eric Kandel on soon, and I am very much looking forward to the discussion with him. I may stumble, Leo may stumble - we most probably will, but Kandel has a story worth telling, so we will give him an opportunity to do so here.

    July 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMarc Pelletier

    hello,I'm from Technische Universitaet Berlin

    My thesis cited your articles, if that violated your copyright, please send an email to contact me.

    October 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGlynis Wible

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